The Pickens High School basketball teams played host to the region rival Gilmer Bobcats Tuesday night. The matchup was the second meeting of the year for the two teams, with the first coming in the annual Tip-Off tournament. After the JV Dragonettes fell to the Lady Cats, the varsity teams looked to right the ship; however, the Dragonettes ran out of time, falling 46-44, while the Dragons fell 57-42.
Pickens started the game out crashing the boards for rebound after rebound, but the Dragonettes was unable to cash any of them in. Makayla Payne and Haley Kalson were denying the Lady Bobcats access to the rim, as they both stripped the ball on Gilmer drive attempts.
The Dragonettes had fallen behind 4-0 when Olivia LeMieux knocked down a three-pointer to open the scoring for Pickens. Sarah Smith began to work inside, hitting a turnaround jumper off the glass to give the Nettes the lead.
Just as Gilmer reclaimed the lead, Smith found a wide open Paula Pickett to get the lead back. Smith then added another two points, and forced Gilmer to take a timeout. The Lady Cats stormed back onto the court and closed the quarter on a 12-0 run, giving Gilmer an 18-9 lead over the “Nettes” at the close of the first quarter.
The second quarter started out with Smith working hard in the paint. Despite the Gilmer girls being all over her, Smith couldn’t draw a foul which seemed to be a problem for both teams all night.
After Gilmer increased its lead, Pickens called a timeout to get things right. With 4:46 remaining in the half, the Nettes trailed 24-11. Pickens closed the quarter on an 11-2 run, fueled by Smith, LeMieux, and Payne. At halftime, the Nettes had climbed back into it, trailing by four, 26-22.
Smith went back to work inside, getting sent to the line where she knocked down one of two free throws. The next possession she found the bottom of the net again. After a mini run by the Lady “Cats,” Smith cashed in yet again along with Autumn Young who hit a medium range jumper.
Kalson answered a Gilmer basket and kept the game close at 33-31. Smith got it even closer with a made free throw, but when the third quarter ended, Pickens was trailing 35-32.
The fourth quarter was an intense one, with both teams battling back and forth. Kalson, Wigington, and Smith did their best to fuel the comeback, but Gilmer had an answer for every basket.
Kalson’s offensive rebound sent her to the line where she made both free throws and got the game within two points, but the Lady “Cats” played keep away for the final seconds and the “Nettes” ultimately lost 46-44.
Leading the Nettes in scoring were Smith with 18, Kalson with 10, and LeMieux with 7.
Soon after the conclusion of the girls’ game, the Dragons took the court to face the Bobcats. After Pickens won the tip, Dylan Curry got things started with two points. Gilmer’s up tempo defense was causing problems early on, and the Dragons fell behind 5-2.
Tanner Brumby drove the baseline and scored, then drove again and added another two points. Dalton Bruce and Wesley Sparks each had drives where they were sent to the charity stripe, and both were perfect in their attempts.
After the first quarter came to an end though, the Dragons trailed by eight, 18-10.
Pickens was able to outplay Gilmer in the second quarter, and the Dragons cut into the lead while doing it. Shannon Brooks got to the line for two points and Jacob Stephens had an offensive rebound tip-in.
After a Gilmer timeout, Brooks got to the hole again and Sparks took a charge to swing the momentum in Pickens’ favor. Bruce hit a long three-pointer for the last points of the quarter, and the Pickens cut the lead to 24-19 going into the half.
Pickens played well in the third quarter, but the Bobcats held serve. Sparks broke the Gilmer press and scored on a layup, and Brooks stayed dominant on the glass.
Stephens had a nice drive where he scored and was fouled. His made free throw and Wigington’s basket kept it close, but an NBA length three by Gilmer made the score 40-31 with just a quarter left to play.
Tylar Urlaub hit a big three-pointer early in the fourth quarter to bring the Dragons within five points. Brumby drove to the basket and drew a foul where he converted both free throws and put the Bobcats’ best player in foul trouble.
Just when the Dragons had some momentum going its way, an intentional foul call that went against the home team, sealed the deal, as it led to two points for Gilmer and possession of the ball which lead to another score.
The Dragons couldn’t dig out of the hole, and Pickens fell, 57-42. Leading the Dragons in scoring was Brumby with 10 points. Brooks, Stephens, Bruce, and Sparks all finished with 5.